He said: “I can remember when my youngest son Eddie first told me, decades ago, he wanted to follow in my footsteps and learn to be a distiller.
"Around these parts in Kentucky, bourbon is a family business. So, naturally, I was thrilled to take him under my wing. But, I also knew the only way he was going to develop the discipline and the know-how needed to become a master distiller was if he had to work his way up from the bottom like I did.
“Eddie started working at Wild Turkey on June 5, 1981, and over time I taught him everything he knows. We’ve crafted several bourbons together and he even created an exceptional whiskey to honour my 60th anniversary called Wild Turkey Diamond Anniversary.
“Now it’s my turn to do the honouring. It is with great pride that I announce that Eddie Russell has been promoted to Wild Turkey master distiller. After 34 years, I think he’s finally earned it, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to go any easier on him - or that I’m going anywhere anytime soon. Eddie and I will work side by side as the industry’s only father/son master distillers,” he said.
Russell reminisces: “Back in the 1950’s, when I first started making bourbon, it was a southern gentleman’s drink. Today, it’s the drink of a younger generation who like to have their Bourbon in cocktails like the Old Fashioned or the Manhattan. Eddie is very passionate about creating new products that appeal to folks around my grandkids age. To be honest, I like to say he’s a bit of a Bourbon maverick.
“This year, Eddie’s first creation in his new role as master distiller will be released, and I think it’s one of the finest bourbons I’ve ever tasted. Together, we’ve also created a new Russell’s Reserve expression that will be available in the US later in 2015,” said Jimmy Russell.
Russell said Russell junior will also be out on the road a lot, sharing travel duties with his dad, acting as a bourbon ambassador around the world. He will be visiting countries, such as Australia, Japan, Brazil and United Kingdom.